Trai rings Telcos’ tone, insists time not ripe for free national roaming
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) announced a reduction in national mobile phone roaming charges on Monday but said that there will be no free national roaming as of now. The changes will come into effect from 1 July, 2013. ‘With increased subscribers and usage, the costs associated with national roaming have declined but not vanished. There are still real costs incurred in providing the national roaming facility,’ Trai said in a statement while justifying its decision to allow telecom service providers to continue charging consumers while their phones are in roaming mode.
‘Mandating a fully free roaming regime is simply not practicable at this juncture. Compelling a transition to a fully free national roaming regime would result in telecom service providers not being able to recover their costs from roamers,’ claimed Trai. In turn, telecom service providers would pass these costs on to all consumers (predominantly non-roamers) through higher tariffs, it added.
Trai has reduced the ceiling tariffs from Rs 1.40 to Re 1 per minute for outgoing local calls and from Rs 2.40 to Rs 1.50 per minute for outgoing STD calls while on national roaming. The ceiling tariff for incoming calls on national roaming has been reduced from Rs 1.75 per minute to 75 paise per minute.
Tariffs for SMSes on national roaming have been capped at Re 1 (local) and
Rs 1.50 (STD).